Decent handling overall. Paul Sikkema of MovingSnow.com singles out the Ariens Compact 22 as "one of the best small snow blowers on the market." He says it has many of the same features you'd find on a larger blower, but is sized just right for clearing single-car driveways.
Although the Compact 22 draws praise from one independent research organization for its controls, it gets only an average score for handling. Most owners disagree, saying the unit is easy to operate, although they do note occasional shortcomings: "Locked wheels make inclines easy but at the expense of easy turning," says one at HomeDepot.com. Another echoes the general consensus by saying, "Quality snow blower, easy to maneuver and starts on the first pull."
The Compact 22 has the usual six forward and two reverse speeds with an electric ignition; single-hand operation frees the other hand to use the joystick that controls the chute, although the deflector angle must be adjusted manually. While this blower lacks power steering, one drive wheel can be disengaged to make it easier to turn and maneuver. Alternatively, you can switch to "total wheel traction" when you need it; one owner says it takes only 4 seconds to make the switch. The built-in headlight is a hit for early morning or evening snow clearing. The Ariens Compact 22 receives poor ratings on noise, so hearing protection is recommended.
Clears snow like a bigger blower, only slower. An independent research organization subjects a 24-inch version of this snow blower to a series of tests and gives it only average marks for removal speed. However, it gets much better scores for its ability to clear surfaces, chew through piles of snow and lob it an impressive distance. One owner says it "really does throw snow at least 25 feet even if it's slush, and if it's a decent cold snow, expect 30-40! It really makes clearing drives fun."
Users say this is especially helpful when you clear a pathway wider than 22 inches and must make two passes because you can throw the snow well out of your way. Since the chute rotates up to 205 degrees, the snow can be directed over a wide area. Sikkema says the Compact 22 "is designed to devour snow like the big boys." Because it's a dual-stage blower, you can use it on unpaved surfaces like gravel.
A hard-to-beat combination of size and power. Owners and experts agree that the Ariens Compact 22 is well suited for medium-duty use on average- to large-size surfaces, both paved and gravel. However, its biggest advantage – a compact size that doesn't limit its power -- is also its biggest handicap if you need to clear large areas.
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Excellent The Ariens Compact 24, which is slightly larger than but otherwise similar to the Compact 22, is included in a ratings chart available to subscribers. Editors use objective tests to rank 22-to-24-inch two-stage snow blowers.
Review: Snow Blowers Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, As of September 2012
Good While Sikkema's review covers the 2010 model, the 2011 version is identical. He calls the Compact 22 one of the best small snow blowers on the market. "This small machine has many of the features found on the larger machines (six speeds, remote chute), yet is small enough for your single-car drive," he adds.
Review: 2010 Ariens 22 inch Compact Series Model 920013 2-Stage Gas Snow Blower Review, Paul Sikkema, Sept. 30, 2010
Good The Ariens Compact 22 is one of HomeDepot.com's best-selling snow blowers, and plenty of owner reviews attest to this. More than 140 users give this blower an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars, with very little negative feedback. More typical are comments like this: "Simply put, the best snow blower I have ever owned."
Review: Ariens Compact 22 in. Two-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of September 2012